By R. Maramba
Spain should ask UNESCO to grant its tapas an International Cultural Heritage (ICH) status. And it has. By drawing global attention to the importance of safeguarding intangible heritage which, according to UNESCO, is an essential part and repository of cultural diversity and creative expression, UNESCO is insuring better protection for important ICH everywhere in the world.
But is there a need for such protection?
“Unlike tangible heritage,” says Professor of International Law at the University of Siena, Federico Lenzerini, “ICH is of a markedly dynamic nature. This nature allows ICH persistently to recreate itself in order constantly to reflect the cultural identity of its creators and holders. Such a heritage has the intrinsic capacity to modify and shape its own characteristics in parallel to the cultural evolution of the communities concerned, and is therefore capable of representing their living heritage at any moment. This inherent flexibility – or, in other words, the ‘ephemeral’ character of ICH – makes it particularly vulnerable to being absorbed by the stereotyped cultural models prevailing at any given time. In an age when globalization is virtually uncontrolled, such characterization puts the very identity of peoples in peril of being curtailed and absorbed by the dominant society.”(From “Intangible Cultural Heritage: The Living Culture of Peoples,” by Federico Lenzerini, European Journal of International Law: http://ejil.oxfordjournals.org/content/22/1/101.full .)
UNESCO, counting on its well-deserved prestige, has taken it upon itself to play the role of the necessary protector. The measures it has taken for the purpose are proving amazingly effective within the inherent limitations of such an undertaking and those of an intergovernmental – as opposed to supranational – organization.
Without counting in the tapas, here are the 10 Intangible Cultural Heritage of Spain:
Mystery Play of Elche ©UNESCO/Misten d’Elx 2009
Festivity of ‘la Mare de Déu de la Salut’ of Algemesí ©UNSECO/2010 Servicio de Patrimonio Historico de la Generalita Valenciana
Human Castle by Eric Sala &Tania Garcia (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:3d10_fm_de_vilafranca.jpg), CC BY SA 2.5 Generic
Patum de Bergas by Albert Vilalta ( https://w ww.flickr.com/photos/bakuberga/2770146413/), CC BY 2.0 Generic
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